Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador posted a photo on Twitter that purportedly shows a mythical Meso-American woodland spirit perched in a tree, glaring down at the railway worker that took the picture.

In Mexico, local engineers are currently in the process of building the Tren Maya, a railway that traverses the Yucatán Peninsula, and a pet project of President López Obrador.  One of the engineers working on this project took the above photo showing what is being referred to as an Alux (ah-LOOSH), a mischievous entity from Maya folklore similar to an elf or leprechaun.

Typically invisible, the Aluxo’ob materialize to play tricks on hapless human victims, who would traditionally leave offerings to ward off the antics of their would-be tormentors; conversely, an Alux will bring luck and protection to farmers or travelers that give them offerings.

Another tradition, still practiced by modern Maya, is for a landowner to build a small house on their property in the hopes that an Alux will take up residence there; in exchange for the lodging, the Alux will protect the property and bring weather favorable to a farmer’s crops for seven years. At the end of these seven-years the landowner must close the doors and windows of the small house to seal the sprite inside; otherwise, it may run amok, causing problems for the landowner and his neighbors.

López Obrador has been vocal in his respect for the indigenous cultures of Mexico and their beliefs, and tweeted the photo on February 25, along with a photo of a pre-Columbian sculpture that had been recently excavated in Ek Balam:

“I share two photos of our supervision of the Mayan Train works: one, taken by an engineer three days ago, apparently from an aluxe; another, by Diego Prieto of a splendid pre-Hispanic sculpture in Ek Balam.”  López Obrador tweeted.

“Everything is mystical.”

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1 Comment

  1. Interesting story and photo. This is a better reproduction of the ‘Elf photo’ than what I saw on the news. It appears the Being’s legs are folded for a good grip on the tree. When I heard the story the first thing that came to mind is a tropical version of our Sasquatch-type para-physical being.

    I find the ‘Tren Maya’ project very unfortunate. The last thing the Mayan tropical forest needs is to be more available to human settlers and development. I’m sure these Beings are not pleased about that. Perhaps they can hook up with the Howler Monkeys and put a stop to it!

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